Finding a light in the dark

Thomas McElvaney juggles depression and anxiety through the pandemic

Stephanie Perez

Having lived through the pandemic and its effects, an important lesson that was learned the hard way was the importance of those you love in your life. Trying to overcome the challenges of the past few years, both mentally and physically, showed that having those you love around you for support and to offer it in return was crucial to carry on.

Thomas McElvaney (9), a student in the Kenosha Military Academy, overcame many challenges in his life and continued to move forward and learn from his experiences. Losing those he loves around him at a young age like his grandfather, resulted in severe depression.

Middle school was a series of ups and downs in his life that eventually led into the pandemic. During that time, McElvaney found out about the passing of his brother and uncle, as well as having his father going in and out of the hospital. The process of helping him get better was long and tiring after going through two or three surgeries.

“[My] family got COVID in December of 2020, right before my mom’s birthday,” McElvaney said. “So we had no Christmas. The Christmas thing didn’t hurt as much because I don’t really care. I care more about being by family during Christmas.”

Due to the absence of his late grandmother, McElvaney struggled even more with his mental health. His main motivator was his mother.

“When my grandma’s death happened, she didn’t give up,” McElvaney said. “And for that, I don’t think I could ever give up again. I need to stay for my mom.”

Switching from in person to virtual was something that affected not only the relationship with his friends but as well as his family. Being at home and so close to family for such a long period of time created a bond where support and comfort was found in the middle of all the struggles he was facing.

“I want to go back virtually to where I could be by my family and not have to worry about a lot of people,” McElvaney said.

Through all of these obstacles, having support of those around him has kept him going. Especially his friend William Bonner (9). Best friends for almost five years now, McElvaney and Bonner met on the first day of sixth grade and ever since then they have stayed friends.

“He’s been the person I can go to,” McElvaney said. “I’m the person that he can go to no matter what. He’s helped me through a lot. He got me through my grandma’s death and doesn’t even know about it.”

Being faced with many obstacles, McElvaney continued to improve his mental health and wanted to let everyone going through similar situations that he went through know that it was not worth taking your own life. Find those people that will stand by your side and support you through everything.

“I hope they realize that it’s not an option to kill yourself, that it’s not worth it,” McElvaney said. “If you surround yourself with the right people, you’ll be perfectly fine.”